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DOI 10.1515/sem-2014-0012   Semiotica 2014; 200: 335 – 358
George Rossolatos
Exploring the rhetorical semiotic brand
image...
336   George Rossolatos
1 Introduction
The meaning and shaping forces of brand image have been extensively researched
in t...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   337
­semiotic framework for projecting an intended brand image structure aims ...
338   George Rossolatos
metaphors and visual metonymies (e.g., Forceville 2007; Forceville and Urios-­
Aparisi 2009; also ...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   339
narrative level and a manifest or discursive structure; cf. Rossolatos 201...
340   George Rossolatos
5 Discussion of findings
The coding procedure resulted in 323 incidences of rhetorical figures (al...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   341
performance/ emerge more densely both in terms of number of brands as well...
342   George Rossolatos
Fig. 2: Distribution of semes by brand (atlas.ti output). Note: Cells highlighted in grey denote
t...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   343
Pursuant to the initial analyses pertaining to the category’s sociolect in...
344   George Rossolatos
the Alpha level, the null hypothesis for independence between the variables
­(semes, brands) was r...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   345
map do not account sufficiently for the total variance in the data. “The a...
346   George Rossolatos
In order to further examine which semes and brands contributed differentially to
the total inertia...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   347
The second correspondence analysis mapping exercise sought to determine
wh...
348   George Rossolatos
from the two variables tend to be concentrated around the centroid of the map.
However, despite th...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   349
In order to further determine co-occurrence patterns (Oakes 1998; Biber et...
350   George Rossolatos
Fig. 12: Indexed incidence of rhetorical figures by brand. Note: Cells highlighted in yellow
denot...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   351
Fig. 13: Indexed incidence of rhetorical figures by seme. Note: Cells high...
352   George Rossolatos
functionally as a dimension of variation” (Biber et al. 2004: 278). After nine itera­
tions and pu...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   353
In this respect, by attending to the semantic contiguity of the positively...
354   George Rossolatos
Fig. 15: Correlation matrix of nuclear semes by nuclear semes for all brands in the corpus
(XLStat...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   355
brand similarities in terms of their semic universe in a 2-dimensional spa...
356   George Rossolatos
­inter-disciplinary research between corpus linguistics, semiotics, rhetoric, and
advertising.
Ref...
Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   357
Hardle, Wolfgang  Leopold Simar. 2007. Applied multivariate statistical an...
358   George Rossolatos
Rossolatos, George. 2013f. A methodological framework for conducting multimodal rhetorical
analyse...
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Exploring the rhetorical semiotic brand image structure of ad films with multivariate mapping techniques

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The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the applicability of multivariate
mapping techniques to the exploration of the rhetorical semiotic brand image
structure of ad films. By drawing on correspondence analysis and multidimen­
sional scaling, two techniques that are amply used in corpus linguistics and in
marketing research, but also on the data reduction technique of factor analysis, it
will be displayed how a set of nuclear semes and classemes or an intended semic
structure that underlies ad filmic discursive structures may be projected along­
side rhetorical figures by its internal stakeholders (i.e., a brand management
team, an account planning team or a marketing research team) with view to
attaining differential brand associations. The illustration of the exploratory ana­
lytical methods takes place by recourse to a corpus of 62 ad filmic texts from 13
sub­brands of the 3 major brands in the UK cereals market and 321 ad filmic seg­
ments that resulted from the segmentation procedure. This paper seeks to con­
tribute to advancements in the brand image and advertising rhetoric research
streams by addressing distinctive modes of advertising rhetorical configuration at
the level of the ad filmic text (as against print ads where the bulk of research on
advertising rhetoric has concentrated), and moreover on a segment­by­segment
level, rather than treating the ad film as a standalone unit of analysis, by adopt­
ing a multimodal outlook to advertising configurations that takes into account
not only the verbal or the visual mode, but also interactions among modes, by
adopting a product category­specific approach to advertising/brand textuality
that draws on rhetorical semiotics and by employing exploratory statistical
methods against the background of content analytic output.

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Transcript of "Exploring the rhetorical semiotic brand image structure of ad films with multivariate mapping techniques"

  1. 1. DOI 10.1515/sem-2014-0012   Semiotica 2014; 200: 335 – 358 George Rossolatos Exploring the rhetorical semiotic brand image structure of ad films with multivariate mapping techniques Abstract: The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the applicability of multivariate mapping techniques to the exploration of the rhetorical semiotic brand image structure of ad films. By drawing on correspondence analysis and multidimen­ sional scaling, two techniques that are amply used in corpus linguistics and in marketing research, but also on the data reduction technique of factor analysis, it will be displayed how a set of nuclear semes and classemes or an intended semic structure that underlies ad filmic discursive structures may be projected along­ side rhetorical figures by its internal stakeholders (i.e., a brand management team, an account planning team or a marketing research team) with view to ­attaining differential brand associations. The illustration of the exploratory ana­ lytical methods takes place by recourse to a corpus of 62 ad filmic texts from 13 sub-brands of the 3 major brands in the UK cereals market and 321 ad filmic seg­ ments that resulted from the segmentation procedure. This paper seeks to con­ tribute to advancements in the brand image and advertising rhetoric research streams by addressing distinctive modes of advertising rhetorical configuration at the level of the ad filmic text (as against print ads where the bulk of research on advertising rhetoric has concentrated), and moreover on a segment-by-segment level, rather than treating the ad film as a standalone unit of analysis, by adopt­ ing a multimodal outlook to advertising configurations that takes into account not only the verbal or the visual mode, but also interactions among modes, by adopting a product category-specific approach to advertising/brand textuality that draws on rhetorical semiotics and by employing exploratory statistical ­methods against the background of content analytic output. Keywords: rhetorical semiotics; ad films; brand image; multivariate mapping techniques George Rossolatos: University of Kassel. E-mail: georgerossolatos123@gmail.com Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  2. 2. 336   George Rossolatos 1 Introduction The meaning and shaping forces of brand image have been extensively researched in the marketing literature (Dobni and Zinkhan 1990; Stern 2001). “Brand image can be defined as perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associa­ tions held in consumer memory” (Keller 1998: 93). Brand associations contain the meaning of a brand, hence their value is instrumental as determinants of brand meaning. Brand associations may be further split into core and peripheral associ­ ations or associations that are instrumental for building and maintaining a brand’s core (DNA) and associations that are responsible for enriching a brand’s semantic nucleus. It is particularly important to distinguish between these two types of brand image attributes insofar as they circumscribe the essential and non-essential elements of a brand knowledge structure and hence impact directly on a brand’s intended positioning, as well as the extent to which an intended positioning is in fact reflected in consumers’ perceptions. Advertising constitutes one of the principal semiotic modes whereby brand meaning is generated. “Traditionally, advertising has been a particularly power­ ful way of communicating a brand’s functional values, as well as building and communicating its emotional values” (De Chernatony 2006: 6). “Advertising has become such a pervasive mode of semiosis in today’s advanced economies that it is now an essential way of knowing the world, particularly through which the arbitrary and culturally determined are made to seem necessary and natural, even as a society is constantly evolving” (Mick et al. 2004: 26). The vast majority of analyses that have been offered in this research stream pertain to the “decoding” side of advertising and concomitantly to the already attained transformation of advertising expressive elements into brand image at­ tributes, with an undue emphasis on the very encoding process of brand texts (see Solomon and Greenberg 1993). Scholars in the advertising-related literature (e.g., Goldenberg and Mazursky 2008) have made attempts at discerning “depth structures” of ad expressive elements, albeit against a non-rhetorically semiotic informed conceptual background, while linking such “depth structures” neither to intended brand signification, nor to a brand’s semic nucleus as the essential correlate at the plane of content and in a product category-specific framework (Rossolatos forthcoming). The main argument that is put forward in this paper is that unless a brand image structure is projected in the first place in such a manner that adjoins an intended semic universe to a selected expressive inventory, it is impossible to gauge and furthermore to manage to what extent the resulting brand associations in consumers’ minds do in fact derive from a brand’s communicated expressive inventory (Rossolatos 2014). To this end, the ensuing structuralist rhetorical Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  3. 3. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   337 ­semiotic framework for projecting an intended brand image structure aims at bridging this gap between what is intended and what is perceived by the final consumer, with the employment of content analysis and the application of multi­ variate mapping techniques and factor analysis to the content analytic output. 2 Rhetorical research in advertising: A heavily fragmented research field Various perspectives, typologies, and taxonomies spanning different disciplines have been offered in order to account for the modes of rhetorical configuration of both static and moving images, such as Foss’s visual rhetoric (2005), Groupe μ’s (1992) Traité du Signe Visuel (‘Treatise on Visual Rhetoric’) from a rhetorical semi­ otic point of view, Kostelnick and Roberts’ (2010) from a visual design point of view, McQuarrie and Mick’s (1996), McQuarrie and Phillips’s (2004), McQuarrie’s (2008) from a consumer research point of view. Groupe μ (1992) provided an updated account of the rhetorical operations (adjunction, suppression, substitution, permutation)1 that were featured in their first rhetorical treatise (1970), while applying them to visual signs that had been introduced in the first treatise (1970), with further qualifications (see Rossolatos 2012)2 . The rhetorical perspective that is offered in this paper has been edified on the taxonomy of rhetorical figures offered by Groupe μ in their first rhetoric (see Rossolatos 2013c), while taking into account for analytical (and not taxonomic) purposes how rhetorical operations function in the province of visual signs. Fur­ thermore, the definitional and operational scope of the involved operations and figures was expanded in order to address the particularities of ad films (Rossola­ tos 2013c). Efforts have been undertaken at extending the application of traditional fig­ ures mostly to static images (e.g., visual metonymy, Willerton 2005; visual hyper­ bole, Callister and Stern 2007) and print advertisements (e.g., Durand 1970, 1987; Tom and Eves 1999; McQuarrie and Phillips 2004). The extension of figures to moving images and advertising filmic narratives has been mostly limited to visual 1 These key operations stem from a long tradition, starting with Quintilian (see Sloane 2001 and Nöth 1990). 2 A similar strategy of retaining operations, but dropping figures was pursued by McQuarrie and Philips (2004) in their taxonomy of operations in print ads. Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  4. 4. 338   George Rossolatos metaphors and visual metonymies (e.g., Forceville 2007; Forceville and Urios-­ Aparisi 2009; also see Callister and Stern 2007: 3). By adopting a common classi­ fication framework for visual and verbal elements, both purely verbal, purely ­visual, but also verbo-visual figures and operations may be discerned as being operative in ad filmic texts, while taking into account the evocative powers of the visual mode, namely, “immediacy, verisimilitude, and concreteness that help in­ fluence acceptance in ways not available to the verbal” (Foss 2004: 314). To this end, the rhetorical figures were redefined in order to encapsulate visual com­ ponents, but also modes of interaction between visual and verbal modes in ad filmic texts, as laid out in Rossolatos (2013c). These figures aim to encapsulate salient and frequently recurring modes of rhetorical configuration of ad filmic texts. 3 Rhetorical semiotic conceptual framework for projecting a brand image structure The conceptual panoply that is employed in this study draws on structuralist ­rhetorical semiotic terminology, and particularly on the semiotic theory of A. J. Greimas (1966, 1970, 1971, 1976a, 1976b, 1983, 1987; also see Mick 1986, 1987) and the rhetorical semiotic approach to visual and verbal signification that was pro­ pounded by Groupe μ (1970, 1992; Rossolatos 2013a, 2013b). The vantage point of Greimas’s epistemological edifice rests with a quest for the primary elements of signification. Greimas’s method, which appeared initially in the form of a seman­ tic theory (1966) and was further elaborated into a full-fledged textual semiotic conceptual armory and methodology, concerns primarily relations and transfor­ mations. Brand meaning arises only through relations among elements from the planes of expression and content, while it takes place through various transfor­ mations in different levels or strata [niveaus] of the so-called generative trajectory of signification (Greimas 1970; Rossolatos 2012). Structuralist semiotics and par­ ticularly a generativist approach to the generation and management of brand meaning over time constitutes a most pertinent blueprint (Rossolatos 2013a). The analytical route that is proposed in this paper seeks to demonstrate how a brand’s semic or brand image structure made up of elementary semantic units (semes) may be explored in relation to an ad text’s modes of rhetorical configura­ tion as rhetorical figures. Rhetorical figures have been shown by Greimas to be indispensable relata that cut across an entire trajectory of signification (spanning an elementary structure of signification, an intermediate structure at a semio-­ Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  5. 5. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   339 narrative level and a manifest or discursive structure; cf. Rossolatos 2012, 2014, 2013e), while acting as the “semiotic glue” that adjoins morphologically distinc­ tive elements from the three strata. Furthermore, the proposed analysis of ad ­filmic texts pursues a combined synchronic/diachronic approach, in line with studies in semiotics, but also in corpus linguistics that are geared towards an understanding of the historical evolution of language (see, for example, Nöth 1990: 63; Wichmann 2008: 194), by attending to ad filmic texts’ structuration in the context of both single filmic texts and across ad films. “Synchronically, we see the set of interpretive conventions as a way to understand the contemporary ‘meaning’ of a brand. By interpreting the evolution of . . . brands, we see the way the . . . meaning of these brands alters over time (i.e., diachronically)” (Hatch and Rubin 2006: 57). In this paper, the findings from the consolidated, diachronic analysis are presented (both levels are addressed more extensively in Rossolatos forthcoming). The study draws on Groupe μ’s typology of rhetorical figures that was put forward in their first rhetorical treatise, while expanding the definitions of these figures in order to accommodate the visual modality that is prominent in ad films. I shall refrain from citing anew the list of figures that were employed during the coding procedure of ad filmic segments, which may be found in Rossolatos 2013d, 2013f. 4 Methodology for projecting a rhetorical semiotic brand image structure The first step in this exploratory endeavor consists of segmenting the selected corpus of ad films in individual segments with the employment of the content analytic software atlas.ti (see Rossolatos 2013c, 2013d, 2013f for further details on the segmentation procedure). The segmentation procedure of the 62 ad films from 13 sub-brands of the 3 key brand players that make up the selected corpus (the UK cereals market) resulted in 321 filmic segments (further details about the featured brands and ad films may be provided upon request). The second step consists in coding the resulting segments with one or more rhetorical figures and producing relevant descriptive statistics with the aid of ­atlas.ti, as will be shown in the ensuing section. The final step consists in applying multivariate mapping techniques and ­factor analysis to the content analytic output with view to examining the overall covariation patterns in the data-pool and interpreting the output. Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  6. 6. 340   George Rossolatos 5 Discussion of findings The coding procedure resulted in 323 incidences of rhetorical figures (almost a 1:1 ratio between filmic segments and figures, even though this is not reflective of the actual rhetorical structuration of the concerned films insofar as in many cases each filmic segment was coded with more than one figure, while some segments were not coded at all). Furthermore, the coding procedure with nuclear semes (NSM) and classemes yielded a total of 492 semic incidences, of which 81% are nuclear. Since the focus of this analysis rests with nuclear semes, the following statistical output will revolve around laying out which nuclear semes shape the cereals category’s sociolect and what differences emerge in the case of distinctive brands” idiolects. Moreover, since, from a structuralist rhetorical point of view, we are concerned primarily with relata, rather than with pro-filmic or ad expres­ sive elements, as key sources for brand textual differentiation and furthermore as sources for differential figurative advantages, the analysis will proceed by show­ ing which rhetorical figures are responsible for shaping the cereals category ­sociolect, followed by a focused analysis on the brands that make up our corpus. Starting with the first part of our analysis, the semantic universe of the cereals category was found to consist of the hierarchy of semes that is displayed in ­Figure 1. As per Figure 1, 75% of the cereals category’s semic universe is made up of nine  semes, namely, /energy/, /for the entire family/, /taste/, /for women/, /wholegrain/, /superior performance/, /snappy, crackly, poppy sound/, /choco­ latey/ and /shape/. Given the weight of this semic constellation we may claim that these semes constitute the category’s sociolect. This certainly holds for semes, such as /energy/, /wholegrain/, /superior performance/, but not for semes such as /for women/, which is purely the province of Special K or /snappy, crackly, poppy sound/ which is the province of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. The two latter ­semes emerged among the most popular ones that recur in the cereals’ sociolect by virtue of their frequent recurrence in the concerned brands’ idiolects. A more accurate depiction, at a preliminary level, of the centrality of each seme in the cereals category’s sociolect may be yielded by attending to the aver­ age number of brands where each of the nuclear semes occurs (Figure 2). In these terms, seven nuclear semes recurred in more than 3 brands’ advertising dis­ courses (from a diachronic point of view). More specifically, /taste/ emerged in 8 brand discourses, /wholegrain/ in 7, /energy/ in 6, /for the entire family/ in 5 and the rest three semes, namely, /chocolatey/, /high in fiber/, and /superior perfor­ mance/ in 3. The remaining semes emerged in 1–2 brand discourses and hence it may be claimed that they constitute idiolectal aspects. Given that the six semes /taste/, /wholegrain/, /energy/, /for the entire family/, /chocolatey/, and /superior Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  7. 7. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   341 performance/ emerge more densely both in terms of number of brands as well as frequency of recurrence, we may infer that they constitute the concerned cate­ gory’s key value drivers or the semic drivers of the category’s sociolect. In terms of associative type by brand, that is to what extent semes concerned attributes, benefits or attitudes, as per Figure 3, we notice that attitude (39%) and attribute (36%) related semes constitute the bulk of the category’s semic universe in almost equal proportions, followed by benefits (24%). As regards the differential distribution of types of semes by brand (Figure 3), we notice that Kellogg’s breakfast cereals, Kellogg’s Special K, Kellogg’s All Bran, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, Weetabix Minis, and Nestle Cheerios feature an above cate­gory average incidence of attitudes; Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Kellogg’s Coco Pops, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, Kellogg’s Frosties, Weetabix Minis, Weetos, Nestle Cheerios, Nestle Shreddies, and Nestle Shredded Wheat feature an above cate­ gory average incidence of attributes; Kellogg’s Coco Pops, Kellogg’s All Bran, ­Kellogg’s Frosties, Weetabix, Weetos, and Nestle Shreddies feature an above cate­ gory average incidence of benefits. Fig. 1: Cereals category hierarchy of semes (atlas.ti output) Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  8. 8. 342   George Rossolatos Fig. 2: Distribution of semes by brand (atlas.ti output). Note: Cells highlighted in grey denote that the seme is encountered at an above category average level in the concerned brand’s semantic universe Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  9. 9. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   343 Pursuant to the initial analyses pertaining to the category’s sociolect in terms of semic drivers, further analyses were conducted with view to determining pat­ terns of co occurrence among semes, modes of rhetorical configuration and brands. To this end, a series of correspondence analyses, factor analysis, and multi­ dimensional scaling analysis were conducted. Fig. 3: Distribution of semes by brand according to associative type by attributes, benefits, attitudes (atlas.ti output) Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM The first correspondence analysis was conducted among the data that make up the brands x nuclear semes matrix (Figure 2), with view to discerning areas of differential associations on a semic level, by taking into account the overall co­variance among the data. “Correspondence analysis is a method of data anal­ysis for representing tabular data graphically. Correspondence analysis is a gen­eralization of a simple graphical concept with which we are all familiar, namely the scatterplot” (Greenacre 2007: 1). The rationale of correspondence analysis consists of reducing a data­set to as many salient dimensions as possible (Hoffman and Franke 1986: 215). “The graphical relationships between the rows and the columns of the table X that result from correspondence analysis are based on the idea of representing all the row and column categories and interpreting the relative positions of the points in terms of the weights corresponding to the col­ umn and the row” (Hardle and Simar 2007: 306). “The proximity of a particular row to a particular column indicates that this row (column) has a particularly important weight in this column (row). In contrast to this, a row that is quite distant from a particular column indicates that there are almost no observations in this column for this row (and vice versa)” (Hardle and Simar 2007: 310). The relative weight of association between the rows and columns of Figure 2 is displayed in the graphical output of the respective correspondence analysis (Figure 6), which was produced from the contingency table’s (semes x brands) data with the program XLStat. Since the probability value (p­value) was found to be lower than
  10. 10. 344   George Rossolatos the Alpha level, the null hypothesis for independence between the variables ­(semes, brands) was rejected (see Figure 4). Further to the discernment of a significant association between brands and ­semes, the cumulative percentage of the first two factors’ eigenvalues was calcu­ lated with a view to discerning whether the significant association between brands and semes was of sufficient weight that would allow for proceeding with the graphical display of the correspondence analysis output. In these terms, as per the results displayed in Figure 5, the cumulative eigenvalue of the first two factors was 35.41% (F1 17.92%, F2 17.49%), suggesting a medium weight of associ­ ation (in the context of a rule of thumb that suggests that a high associative weight may be gauged from the incidence of an at least 60% cumulative percentage of the first two factors; cf. Hardle and Simar 2007: 311). This medium weight of association is evinced in the graphical output of Figure 6 where, with the exception of a strong association between Rice Krispies, All Bran, Special K, Crunchy Nut, and Kellogg’s Breakfast Cereals and their corresponding semic universes, the rest of the brands and semes tend to concentrate around the middle of the map (cf. Greenacre 2007: 74), which is suggestive of an unclear and tenuous link or that the link between semes and brands is diffuse. “The very low inertia is seen in the closeness of the row profiles to the centroid” (Greenacre 2007: 79). In other words, the two dimensions of the correspondence analysis Fig. 4: Chi-square independence test semes x brands (XLStat output) Fig. 5: Eigenvalues and variance percentages for semes x brands (XLStat output) Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  11. 11. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   345 map do not account sufficiently for the total variance in the data. “The asym­ metric map functions well when total inertia is high, but it is problematic when total inertia3 is small because the profile points in principal coordinates are too close to the origin for easy labeling” (Greenacre 2007: 80). However, “[correspon­ dence analysis] should be regarded as a way of re-expressing the data in pictorial form for ease of interpretation – with this objective any table of data is worth looking at” (Greenacre 2007: 80). Insofar as the proximity of the data points on the map allows for making inferences about the association between the examined variables, the relative proximity of brands to semes yields an interesting picture of the extent to which each a brand’s semic universe is sufficiently differentiated from the rest. 3 “The total inertia of a cross-tabulation is a measure of how much variation there is in the table” (Greenacre 2007: 81). Fig. 6: Correspondence analysis scatterplot of rhetorical figures by brand Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  12. 12. 346   George Rossolatos In order to further examine which semes and brands contributed differentially to the total inertia of the table the individual row and column inertia scores for attri­ butes and brands were summed and then percentages of each seme and brand inertia scores were calculated, as per Figure 8. “The investigation of these compo­ nents of inertia (analogous to an analysis of variance) plays an important sup­ porting role in the interpretation of CA. They provide diagnostics which allow the user to identify which points are the major contributors to a principal axis and to gauge how well individual points are displayed” (Greenacre 2007: 81). Fig. 7: Contribution of each seme and brand to the total inertia Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  13. 13. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   347 The second correspondence analysis mapping exercise sought to determine whether there is a significant association between brands and rhetorical figures and if yes what is the weight of this association. As per Figure 8, since the p value is lower than Alpha value the null hy­ pothesis about the independence between the two variables was rejected and hence it was confirmed that there is an association between the distribution of the values of rhetorical figures by brand. Further to the rejection of the null hypothesis about the independence of vari­ ables, the weight of this association was determined by attending to the cumula­ tive eigenvalue of the first two factors as per Figure 9. The cumulative percentage (31.5%) of the first two factors (F1, F2) of Figure 9 is suggestive of a medium weight of association in the distribution of rhetorical figures by brand. This is evinced in the scatterplot (Figure 10), where the data points Fig. 8: Chi-square independence test rhetorical figures x brands (XLStat output) Fig. 9: Eigenvalues and variance percentages for semes x brands (XLStat output) Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM From the calculation of individual row and column inertias we may discern the following: In terms of rows (semes) /snappy, crackly, poppy sound/ and /for women/ account for 22% of the entire rows’ inertia. The relatively high contribu­tion of these two attributes to the total variance may also be gauged from their highly distanced placement from the centroid of the map (Figure 10). In terms of columns, Special K and Rice Krispies account for 29.39% of the entire columns’ inertia which may also be gauged from their highly distanced placement from the centroid of the map (Figure 10).
  14. 14. 348   George Rossolatos from the two variables tend to be concentrated around the centroid of the map. However, despite the medium weight of association we may still discern patterns in the relationships between rhetorical figures and brands by cross-­referring be­ tween the indexed incidence of rhetorical figures by brand (Figure 12) and the proximity of semes to figures in the correspondence analysis scatterplot (Figure 10). More specifically, we notice a very specific pattern of differential modes of rhetorical configuration in the cases of Rice Krispies (pareikonopoeia, onomato­ poeia, and neologism), Weetabix, Weetabix Minis, and Nestle Shredded Wheat (hyperbole), Shredded Wheat and Weetos (irony), Kellogg’s All Bran (paren­thesis, paronomasia), Nestle Cheerios (assonance, reshaption), pun, accolorance, rhyme (Kellogg’s Special K and Coco-Pops). Correspondence analysis is particularly pertinent in discerning differential modes of rhetorical configuration among brand discourses in a given category, as it takes into account the entire co-variance levels among the data of a brands x figures matrix. The scatterplot output should always be checked against the orig­ inal data in order to confirm whether the proximity between brands and figures makes sense. Fig. 10: Correspondence analysis scatterplot of rhetorical figures by brand Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  15. 15. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   349 In order to further determine co-occurrence patterns (Oakes 1998; Biber et al. 2004; Gries 2009; Biber and Conrad 2009) among the nuclear semes that make up the sociolectal semantic universe of the cereals product category and reduce them to salient dimensions, a factor analysis was conducted. “In a factor analy­ sis, the correlations among a large number of variables (i.e., the linguistic fea­ tures) are identified, and the variables that are distributed in similar ways are grouped together. Each group of variables is a factor – which is then interpreted Fig. 11: Hierarchical ranking of the incidence of rhetorical figures across the entire corpus (atlas.ti output; see Rossolatos 2013c, 2013d, 2013f for definitions of figures) Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  16. 16. 350   George Rossolatos Fig. 12: Indexed incidence of rhetorical figures by brand. Note: Cells highlighted in yellow denote that the rhetorical figure is encountered at an above category average incidence in the concerned brand’s semantic universe Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  17. 17. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   351 Fig. 13: Indexed incidence of rhetorical figures by seme. Note: Cells highlighted in yellow denote that the rhetorical figure is encountered at an above category average incidence in the concerned brand’s semantic universe Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  18. 18. 352   George Rossolatos functionally as a dimension of variation” (Biber et al. 2004: 278). After nine itera­ tions and pursuant to the recalculation of the factor loadings with varimax rota­ tion4, a four-factor solution was yielded, as per Figure 14. Positive factor loadings (i.e., with a value of above +0.3; as per the 0.3 cut-off point suggested by Biber et al. 2004: 279) of individual semes by dimension (fac­ tor) are highlighted in yellow (Figure 14). The labeling of each factor, as noted by Biber et al. (2004) is a matter of interpretation, based on the function that each underlying semantic dimension (i.e., factor) is intended to fulfill. “Because fea­ tures with larger loadings are more representative of the factor, they are also more useful in the functional interpretation of the factor)” (Biber et al. 2004: 279). 4 “The varimax rotation makes the interpretation easier by maximizing the variance of the squared factors loadings by column. For a given factor, high loadings become higher, low load­ ings become lower, and intermediate loadings become either lower or higher” (XLStat 2014). Fig. 14: Factor analysis output (XLStat; after varimax rotation; 4-factor solution; factors with loadings greater than 0.3 highlighted in yellow) Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  19. 19. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   353 In this respect, by attending to the semantic contiguity of the positively loading semes on each dimension, the following labels were attached to the four factors (or semic drivers of the cereals category): F1 safe and economic choice (positive loading of semes /uncertainty avoidance/, /for the entire family/, /best ingredients/, /value-for-money/). This dimension is clearly the territory of Kellogg’s cornflakes (cf. Figure 2). F2 heritage and approval (positive loadings of semes /heritage/, /approval/, /snappy, crackly, poppy sound/ and /stardom/). This dimension is clearly the ter­ ritory of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (cf. Figure 2). F3 indulgence (positive loadings of semes /taste/, /inverted Britishness/, /ludic, playful consumption experience and user profile/. This dimension is clearly the territory of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut (cf. Figure 2). F4 health and wellness (positive loadings of semes /high in fiber/, /combating bloatedness/, /for women/, /feeling good/). This dimension is mainly the terri­ tory of Kellogg’s All Bran and Kellogg’s Special K (cf. Figure 2). In order to discern the overall similarity in the semantic universe of the brands that make up the selected corpus a multidimensional mapping exercise was also conducted. The “multidimensional scaling technique [MDS] is a picto­ rial representation of the relationships inherent in a dissimilarity matrix” (Oakes 1998: 253). “MDS enables us to map objects (brands) spatially, so that the rela­ tive positions in the mapped space reflect the degree of perceived similarity be­ tween the objects (the closer in space, the more similar the brands)” (Kohli and ­Leuthesser 1993: 13). Initially, a correlation matrix was produced with view to discerning brand similarities across all nuclear semes. The correlation matrix is displayed in Figure 15. Then MDS was applied to the correlation matrix, yielding two effective di­ mensions, against which the brands were plotted, as per Figure 16. As per the proximity of brands in the two-dimensional space of the resulting MDS map we may discern that Special K and Kellogg’s All Bran share similar semic universes, and the same holds for Kellogg’s Breakfast cereals, Weetabix Minis, and Nestle Cheerios, for Kellogg’s Coco Pops and Weetos. Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, Weetabix, and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies maintain a quite differentiated semic identity, based on their overall interaction patterns with the rest brands. The MDS exercise offers a different outlook compared to the previously dis­ played factor analytic exercise. Even though both factor analysis and MDS essen­ tially reduce data to salient dimensions, MDS, by virtue of being customarily used as a 2-dimensional solution (at most 3-D solution) affords to offer a snapshot of Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  20. 20. 354   George Rossolatos Fig. 15: Correlation matrix of nuclear semes by nuclear semes for all brands in the corpus (XLStat output) Fig. 16: MDS map of all brands based on their degree of semic similarity (XLStat output) Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
  21. 21. Rhetorical semiotic brand image structure   355 brand similarities in terms of their semic universe in a 2-dimensional space. Fac­ tor analysis offers a different outlook on the semic organization of the semantic space of a product category, by yielding more salient dimensions against which brands may be compared, and hence enlarging the discriminating scope of the underlying semantic dimensions. The employment of both techniques in the ex­ ploration of the modes of patterning of a product category’s sociolect affords to yield complementary angles whereby a semic universe may be approached. Let it be noted that whereas in traditional consumer research, MDS is applied to paired evaluation test data (i.e., where consumers are requested to rate pairs of brands based on their degree of perceived similarity), in corpus linguistics and, by exten­ sion, in semiotic research, the degree of semic similarity among the brands that make up a corpus is calculated indirectly, by applying multidimensional scaling to the output of a correlation matrix. The corpus linguistic approach adopted in the above exercise that consists of a projected brand image structure at an encod­ ing stage may and should be compared and contrasted with emerging consumer data in the context of tracking surveys and the production of perceptual maps (cf. Myers 1996: 203). 6 Conclusions This paper sought to demonstrate the usefulness of employing multivariate map­ ping techniques that are amply employed in corpus linguistics and marketing research in order to explore the distinctive modes of rhetorical-cum-semic config­ uration of ad filmic texts. By using a series of techniques, such as correspondence analysis, multidimensional scaling and factor analysis, different and salient facets of brands’ rhetorical structures were explored in the context of total co-variation patterns among the data that make up the selected brands’ semantic and rhetor­ ical structure. The above analyses are particularly pertinent for projecting brand image structures at the very encoding stage of ad filmic texts, by attending to how a brand’s semic structure alongside rhetorical relata emerge in specific ad filmic segments. The resulting associations in consumers’ minds may then be compared and contrasted through gap analyses with the above exploratory exercises in an iterative and ongoing fashion in the context of tracking surveys. The proposed methods of analysis for exploring distinctive modes of ad tex­ tual configuration are instrumental for the attainment not only of a distinctive semic structure, but, moreover, of differential figurative advantages qua distinc­ tive modes of rhetorical configuration (Rossolatos 2013d). This is a novel facet in the exploration of patterns of ad textual configuration that calls for further Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM
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  24. 24. 358   George Rossolatos Rossolatos, George. 2013f. A methodological framework for conducting multimodal rhetorical analyses of advertising films with ATLAS.ti. In Susanne Friese Thomas Ringmayr (eds.), Atlas.ti user conference 2013: Fostering dialog on qualitative methods. Berlin: Berlin Technical University Press. Rossolatos, George. 2014. Brand equity planning with structuralist rhetorical semiotics. Kassel: Kassel University Press. Rossolatos, George. forthcoming. A methodological framework for projecting brand equity: Putting back the imaginary into brand knowledge structures. Sloane, Thomas (ed.). 2001. Encyclopedia of rhetoric. California: University of California Press. Solomon, Michael Lawrence Greenberg. 1993. Setting the stage: Collective selection in the stylistic context of commercials. Journal of Advertising 22(1). 11–23. Stern, Barbara. 2001. Marketing images: Construct definition, measurement issues and theory development. Marketing Theory 1(2). 201–224. Tom, Gail Anmarie Eves. 1999. The use of rhetorical devices in advertising. Journal of Advertising Research Jul/Aug. 39–43. Wichmann, Anne. 2008. Speech corpora and spoken corpora. In Anke Ludeling and Merja Kyto (eds.), Corpus linguistics: An international handbook vol. 1, 187–206, Berlin: Mouton. Willerton, Russell. 2005. Visual metonymy and synecdoche: Rhetoric for stage-setting images. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 35(1). 3–31. XLStat. 2014. Running a factor analysis with XLSTAT. http://www.xlstat.com/en/learning- center/tutorials/running-a-factor-analysis-with-xlstat.html (accessed 18 February 2014). Bionote George Rossolatos (b. 1975) is an academic researcher and marketing practitioner 〈georgerossolatos123@gmail.com〉. His research interests include rhetoric, phe­ nomenology, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, and cultural studies. His publica­ tions include “//rhetor.dixit//: Understanding ad texts’ rhetorical structure for differential figurative advantage” (2013); and “Brand equity planning with struc­ turalist rhetorical semiotics” (2012, 2014). Authenticated | georgerossolatos123@gmail.com author's copy Download Date | 5/23/14 7:10 AM

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